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Scooter startup Lime exits 12 cities and lays off workers in profit push

If you use Lime scooters to get around Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Antonio, then you’ll soon have to make alternative arrangements.

Feeling the heat in the increasingly competitive scootersharing market, Lime announced on Thursday, January 9 that it is exiting 12 markets around the world, including the four U.S. cities listed at the top.

The move will result in the loss of 14 percent of its workforce, equal to around 100 employees, news site Axios reported.

Lime CEO Brad Bao delivered the news in a message posted online in which he said his company had decided to shift its primary focus to profitability.

“While the vast majority of our 120+ markets have adopted micromobility transportation solutions quickly and are profitable, there are select communities throughout the world where micromobility has evolved more slowly,” Bao wrote.

“For this reason, we have made the difficult decision to close 12 markets across the globe at this time. They include Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio in the United States; Linz, Austria in Europe; and Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Lima, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Latin America.”

The CEO added that despite the restructuring, Lime is fixed on its long-term goal of playing “an instrumental role in reimagining and changing the way we live in and move around cities across the globe.”

He even suggested that, depending on how the market develops, Lime could one day return to the cities that it’s leaving.

Lime’s decision follows similar moves in the past year by rival firms such as Lyft, Bird, Scoot, and Skip. In November 2019, Lyft announced it was removing its electric two-wheelers from six locations across the U.S., resulting in the loss of 20 workers among Lyft’s 400-strong team that oversees its app-based scooter and bike services. Personnel responsible for charging and repositioning the scooters in the affected cities were also laid off.

At the time, the company said it wanted to “shift resources away from smaller markets and toward bigger opportunities.”

Winter is the hardest time for scooter services, with the cold weather prompting people to seek more comfortable modes of transport. Such conditions make turning a profit even harder, a difficulty compounded by the large number of providers in the game. Expect more cutbacks in 2020 as operators focus on streamlining their efforts. We may even see some fall by the wayside.

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